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First Phase to 40- Marathon Training

img_0025When I think about the daunting task of training for a 40 miler, I get totally over-whelmed. I basically have no idea how the heck one would train for that distance without injuring themselves or how to get miles in during the daytime, since work and kids already take up all of my time. But, nevertheless, it’s a goal that I’ve set for myself, so I’m going to give it a GO!

I would like to increase my miles VERY gradually, so that I can reduce my risks (injuries, over-training, my family complaining about hours spent away from home…).  Since my 40 miler will take place in mid-September, I figured that 6 months prior I should hit a local Spring marathon to help me build up mileage, and the Go! St. Louis Marathon is perfect timing for my master plan.

Having 15 prior marathons under my belt, I can honestly say that I’ve tried all different types of training programs. Some worked well for me, others not so much. The other factors (carrying extra weight, not refueling enough, having extreme bowel discomfort, and dehydration due to breast-feeding) were probably as important, if not more important, than the training itself, but those were lessons learned, so I’ll focus now on the miles.  Here are the factors of training that have worked for me in the past:

  1. Running high mileage (maxing out around 50 miles per peak weeks)- This worked well for me, giving me my ‘easiest’ races and best times.
  2. Getting in at least 2, 20 mile long runs
  3. 5 runs a week (1 long run, 2 med runs, 2 short runs)
  4. Recovery day after a long run

And here’s the stuff that didn’t work for me:

  1. 3 day training programs, with more rest or cross training
  2. Any speed work whatsoever. It wasn’t a factor for me, in the end
  3. Running 7 days a week doesn’t work either! I was probably more tired and injured during those 16 weeks than in my entire life combined…
  4. Running more than half of my miles indoors (on a treadmill). This I did because I had the babies at home, napping, and it was the only way for me to get in the miles. But it backfired. I think the treadmill is a good option when it’s a total necessity, but training outdoors, in the wind and hills, is the best way to prepare for the race. Environmental factors of a race can’t be replicated indoors.

There’s a running store in my neighborhood that has a training group, and they’re training to run the GO- my race. It’s free to join, so I’m taking the plunge and joining! It’s only for the 1 long run, and I’ll still have 4 other times each week to run solo, when I can enjoy the peace and quiet, scenery, and go at whatever pace I feel like.

As for my medium and short distance runs, I’ll keep it easy. My short runs will stay between 3-6 miles, and my mediums will be between 6-10 miles. Also, I wanted to address my 2 “rest” days. Because of my current schedule, it turns out that I’ll be teaching my fitness class on my designated rest days. Which basically means that I’m still getting a workout in, and not off my feet by any means. If I feel that I’m not getting enough rest due to my training and teaching at any point, then at that time I’ll have to reevaluate my schedule. For now though, I’ll keep teaching on my rest days and running the other 5 days.

Here’s my schedule, including my weekly mileage goals:

Week 1: Run 3, 3, 9, 9, 12 =  36 Miles
Week 2: Run 3, 3, 9, 9, 13 =  37 Miles
Week 3: Run 3, 3, 8, 8, 10 =  32 Miles
Week 4: Run 4, 4, 8, 9, 14= 39 Miles
Week 5: Run 4, 4, 8, 9, 15 =  40 Miles
Week 6: Run 4, 4, 9, 9, 16 = 42 Miles
Week 7: Run 5, 5, 8, 8, 12 =  38 Miles
Week 8: Run 5, 5, 9, 9, 18 =  46 Miles
Week 9: Run 5, 5, 10, 9,19 = 48 Miles
Week 10:Run 6, 6, 9, 9, 20=50 Miles
Week 11:Run 6, 6, 8, 8, 10 = 38 Miles
Week 12:Run 4, 3, 3, 26.2!

I’m starting with a long run of 12 because that’s what I can comfortably complete at this time. There are many programs out there that start with less mileage, but for me, since I’m easily running 35 a week, this is where I’ll start my journey to 26.

I plan on writing more about my training throughout the next few months too so stay tuned! I hope to eventually address my “other factors” to training, like stretching, refueling, and gear. Happy training!

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